Recently, Michael Usey (pastor at College Park Baptist Church) and I were talking about several issues concerning social justice and he said they wouldn’t be fixed by politics. This morning, I was going through my list of ideas looking for something to write about when I stumbled across something from last summer’s Sunday adult Bible study. Several groups came together to read and discuss Diana Butler Bass’ “Christianity For the Rest of Us”. The book is a study of how several mainline Protestant churches are dealing with the supposed decline of mainline Protestantism. We broke it up into two chapter units and class members each took a turn facilitating the discussion. My two chapters were about transforming congregations and the world. I wish my turn hadn’t occurred until the week after because of something Michael said in his sermon that would fit perfectly with my topic. In speaking about servant leadership and service to others, he quoted Mother Teresa: “Do small things with great love”. Together, these ideas may just be the perfect recipe for establishing the Kingdom.
I didn’t always feel this way. I believe you can’t really separate your political from your spiritual beliefs, but for a while politics took over my thought process. It started building last January, became more urgent in May with the vote on Amendment One and reached a fever pitch with the presidential election. I began to step back in December, with articles on Advent and Christmas. Then, in January, I attended the Emergence Christianity Conference in Memphis. Due to work and health concerns, I hadn’t been to this sort of gathering for over a year and I didn’t realize how much I missed them. After those 3 days in Memphis, I was re-energized and my writing began to return to it’s original direction I’m not saying I won’t be politically active or that I won’t write about political matters anymore; just that political action isn’t going to be my tack on every issue.
I’ve said other places that I’m a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy, one who’s more interested in how to make things happen than deep spiritual and philosophical concepts and this is no exception. So, how do we “do small things with great love” and deal with the seemingly overwhelming problems facing us today? It can be as simple as taking a can of food to a food drive, volunteering at a local charity or even holding the door for a stranger whose hands are full. These small acts may not seem like a drop in a bucket overall, but they work two ways. One is through a collective effect; if everyone is doing “small things with great love”. these small things gain enormous power. The other is more personal. Holding the door for a stranger, helping a mother with young children load some packages into her car or making eye contact and smiling at the homeless person you give a dollar to may not matter much in the big picture, but they are huge to the recipient. And, maybe, just maybe, you’ll lighten their load enough that they’ll be able to do the same for someone else. Because love wins. Always.